Steve Goldenberg has died at the age of 56. He was one of the patient plaintiffs in the lawsuit EOLCNY initiated seeking to legalize aid in dying in New York.
“Steve’s willingness to participate as a plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to expand end of life liberty while he was in the final stage of his illness was an act of extraordinary generosity and public service,” said Kathryn Tucker, Director of the End of Life Liberty Project of the Disability Rights Legal Center and one of the attorneys representing Steve in the case. “It is through such selfless commitment to advancing social change that we are able to bring these landmark cases and effect transformational change”.
Lawyers at Debevoise & Plimpton, co-counsel in the lawsuit, said this about Steve: “Steve’s joy for life was abundantly clear from the first time we met him. His devotion to his partner David. His adoration for his dog. The only place he wanted to be was here on earth, with those he loved. He was fighting a Sisyphean battle, but every day he fought. Through his numerous ailments and daily challenges, he never once lost his sense of humor. Even when he was extremely ill, when we spoke with David, we could hear Steve in the background making jokes about how he should be careful with the timing of his passing so as not to interfere with trial. He was a lovely, joyful, and inspiring human being.”
Steve and his life partner, David Buraszeski, were together for 25 years. David said, “Steve was a wonderful and extraordinary man. He was loving, kind and generous. He had a great sense of humor and a zest for life. Steve fought numerous debilitating illnesses, courageously, over the last two decades of his life, never giving up on life and always willing to live another day even over the last year as various medical conditions worsened. Although he died in hospice, where he received excellent care, Steve wanted and should have had the option of aid in dying. I do not know whether he would have taken the medications if he had been able to obtain them. I do know that it would have made his final months easier. I will miss my dear Steve always.”
EOLCNY Executive Director David Leven said, “I had great admiration for Steve as a very thoughtful, pleasant and humorous man. Despite his many limitations, caused by various and serious ailments, he was willing to continue to live as best he could and to find meaning in his life. Steve fought for end of life justice. It did not happen while he lived but we will do all we can to ensure that Steve’s goal will ultimately be realized.”